By Peter DURU,Makurdi
The Senate President, David A.B. Mark has declared that the Senate would soon commence debate on a bill to provide for a comprehensive insurance policy for every practising journalist in the country.
He stressed that when the new billÂ finally becomes law, every media practitioner in the country would be properly protected from the hazards of the profession
Mark, who spoke in Makurdi while declaring open a two- day retreat for the Senate Press Corp noted that the country Nigeria was passing through the most critical time in its socio-political development, henceÂ he advocated a closer working relationship between the media and the National Assembly in order to entrench lasting democratic culture in the country.
He added that the Media and the Parliament of any democratic nation remained pivotal to the success or failure of the democratic experiment stating that the media in Nigeria must be seen to be dispassionate at all times.
He urged key players in the media to continue to uphold the tenets of objectivity and fairness in the discharge of their responsibilities to the nation.
He said: â€œAs watch dogs of the society, journalists must endeavor to get their facts right before going to press and where in doubt, leave outâ€, Mark said.
According to him, it was also high time the rising case of quacks invading journalism practice in the country is addressed with all the seriousness it deserved.
The Senate President emphasized that the practice of journalism must not be left in the hands of unqualified persons who would rather constitute a threat to nurturing of the nationâ€™s nascent democracy.
Mark also noted that the National Assembly was determined to pass the Freedom of Information Bill, as being advocated by media practitioners in the country but he was quick to point out that it would not be done without some form of responsibilities entrusted to media practitioners and the Federal lawmakers.
Earlier in his remarks, the Governor of Benue State Mr. Gabriel Suswam had called on media practitioners to observe restraint in the publication of inciting stories that could over heat the polity.
Suswam urged journalists to continue to work in close collaboration with the political class in order to build a credible and sustainable democratic culture in the country.